During a wisdom tooth extraction, your dentist, or oral surgeon: makes an incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth and bone, removes bone that blocks access to the tooth root, and divides the tooth into sections if it’s easier to remove in pieces.
A wisdom tooth extraction is the removal of your wisdom tooth from its socket in the bone. It is typically performed by an oral surgeon. Your third molars, or wisdom teeth, are the last set of permanent molars to emerge.
Everyone has three molars on each side of the jaw. The last molar (or third molar) located at the very back of your mouth, are your wisdom teeth. While most of your adult teeth develop before adolescence, your wisdom teeth develop significantly later – when you’re older.
When wisdom teeth cause problems, or X-rays show they might down the line, they need to come out. Other good reasons to take them out include: Damage to other teeth: That extra set of molars can push your other teeth around, causing mouth pain and bite problems.
This can vary significantly. On average, people tend to develop them between the ages of 17 and 25, though it’s not unheard of for wisdom teeth to grow in pre-adolescence or into ones 30s and beyond. There’s also the possibility that you may not develop wisdom teeth at all.
In most cases, wisdom teeth removal becomes necessary due to impaction. Lack of space prevents them from fully entering the mouth, leading to infections, damage to surrounding teeth and bone, pain, and in some cases even tumors or cysts. Even in cases when they do erupt partially or fully, the crowding caused by these unnecessary third molars often leads to infections. These problems are so common that over 85% of adults eventually need to have their wisdom teeth removed.
Before your wisdom teeth are removed, you’ll go through a consultation and examination to determine the proper course of treatment. Fully-erupted wisdom teeth can be simply extracted like any other tooth, but in many cases, they will be only partially or not at all erupted, so the procedure will need to be more intensive.
In most situations where the tooth has not erupted completely, the extraction will be performed under IV sedation or using a local anesthetic with a sedative to keep you relaxed and comfortable. An incision will be made in the gum over the tooth, and a portion of the bone that covers the impacted wisdom tooth will be removed to allow access. The tooth will be removed in sections if necessary to minimize the disturbance to your jawbone. The procedure will then be repeated as necessary for your other wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth can come in at random angles, an impacted wisdom tooth may push other straight teeth in different directions, creating a set of problems by altering the alignment of normal, healthy teeth and needed teeth.
Wisdom teeth can cause lots of pain so the earlier you resolve the issue the better. That’s why being proactive rather than reactive will ensure that you will have an easier recovery time and that no other healthy teeth are affected eliminating additional procedures.